WPIAL says Plum football used ineligible player, must forfeit game

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Monday, October 18, 2021 | 12:01 AM


The Plum football team used an ineligible player in some games this season, the WPIAL decided Monday, meaning the Mustangs must forfeit those contests.

Once made official, the mistake will cost Plum one conference win against Mars, said athletic director Josh Shoop. Plum self-reported the violation to the WPIAL after learning a player had already exhausted his eligibility, WPIAL executive director Amy Scheuneman said.

The school asked the WPIAL for additional semesters of eligibility for Jordan Major, according to the agenda for Monday’s WPIAL board meeting. That waiver request was denied.

The board discussed the waiver in executive session.

“The bylaw is specific on what we can grant and what we can’t,” Scheuneman said.

The WPIAL was awaiting additional information from Plum detailing the games in which the ineligible player had participated. The forfeits won’t be official until then.

If the Mars game is forfeited as expected, Plum’s conference record will drop from 3-2 to 2-3. The Mustangs can still play their final two games and potentially qualify for the playoffs.

They’re currently tied with Armstrong (3-2) and Greensburg Salem (3-2) for second place in the Greater Allegheny, one game ahead of Highlands (2-3) and Indiana (2-3). With a forfeit win, Mars also would improve to 2-3.

The top five teams qualify for the playoffs.

Plum lost its first four games this season, all nonconference contests, before a 29-0 conference win over Mars on Sept. 24.

“Once we found out there could potentially be an issue, we held him out and self-reported to the WPIAL,” Shoop said. “It’s unfortunate. I feel bad for the young man. I feel bad for our kids.”

According to PIAA bylaws, athletes are limited to eight consecutive semesters of eligibility beyond the eighth grade and six seasons beyond sixth grade. They’re also out of eligibility if they’ve “completed the work of grades nine, 10, 11 and 12.”

Heinz Field schedule

The WPIAL finalized its schedule for the five football finals at Heinz Field.

The games will be played in sequential order with Class A at 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 26 and Class 2A following at 5 p.m. There will be three games Saturday, Nov. 27 with Class 3A at noon, Class 4A at 3 p.m. and Class 5A at 6 p.m.

The Class 6A final is Nov. 20 at a high school stadium. The WPIAL intends to choose that site soon.

Valley, Yough fight

The WPIAL will call in representatives of Yough and Valley to discuss their football game that was halted Friday after a fight grew to involve players from both benches.

Valley was leading 23-6 in the third quarter.

The WPIAL hearing will “find out what exactly transpired, why the decisions were made and what the schools are doing because of it,” Scheuneman said. The WPIAL held similar hearing in years past for other incident “of this magnitude,” she said.

The WPIAL requested and received reports from both schools along with an ejection report from the game officials. The contest was initially labeled a forfeit after Yough left, but that outcome remains in question, she said.

A hearing date wasn’t set.

Shipping issues hit WPIAL

Teams might not receive new football, soccer balls or volleyballs for the WPIAL playoffs this year.

The shipment of PIAA balls is delayed and likely won’t arrive before the WPIAL playoffs start, Scheuneman said. The delay was blamed on the supply-chain issues clogging up West Coast shipping ports.

Teams can use balls they already own.

Eligibility hearings

The WPIAL denied eligibility to football players Kamari Mathews of Aliquippa and Jordan Walston of Pine-Richland following separate hearings Monday. Each is ineligible for one year from their transfer date, Scheuneman said.

Mathews, a sophomore, transferred from Beaver Falls. Walston, a freshman, came from Seneca Valley. They can appeal to the PIAA.

The WPIAL granted postseason eligibility to Kiski Area transfers Logan Bechtold and Joseph Lukas.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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